Bryan LaHair has been one of those players that I have always felt sorry for --as sorry as you can feel for someone who plays professional baseball for a living. The reason that I feel a little sorry for the man is that he is an example of someone who has "paid his dues" in the minor leagues and deserves a full shot in the majors. Some will argue that he did get that shot this year for the Chicago Cubs. While that is partially true, he didn't exactly scuffle.
The man made the All-Star team. He batted over .300 up until the middle of June, and was an important part of a lackluster Cubs' offense the first half of the season. While he undeniably faded as the season progressed, this was also his first full season in the majors. Almost all players fade as the season moves on. Unfortunately for LaHair, that fade went hand-in-hand with the arrival of Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo's arrival forced the Cubs to move LaHair to right field. As his struggles continued, he eventually found himself without an everyday spot in the lineup.
LaHair could absolutely be a valuable asset to the Cubs --beyond just being a pinch hitter against right handed pitchers. I would love to see LaHair get another full shot. He could play right field. However, I'd also be curious of the potential of him learning third base given the Cubs current disaster at the position.
While I'm sure LaHair could learn, in order for him to be an everyday player for the Cubs, he has to hit left-handed pitching better than he has. In 2012, LaHair hit .063 (3-for-48) against lefties. When you don't play elite defense and you can only hit either right or left handed pitching, it's a first class ticket to pinch-hitter country. I think LaHair has the ability to give the Cubs more than that, especially in a scenario where the Cubs are still knee deep in rebuilding. He definitely has earned the shot. 2012 should have given LaHair a strong feel for the grind of the regular season. Since 2013 will most likely be another identity-finding year for the Chicago Cubs, I don't see why LaHair shouldn't be given every opportunity to make an impact.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.SourcesBryan LaHair Stats
- Sports & Recreation
- Chicago Cubs
- Bryan LaHair